A TAIL OF TWO TREES
KULA DESIGN - CATE & PASHA STINSON
RFP: Create a piece of public art for the Trolley Trail pedestrian/bike path paralleling the Milwaukie segment of the newest Portland, Oregon light rail project.
The sculpture must be created from mature sequoia trees, beloved by the neighborhood, but scheduled for removal. The theme must reflect community history and be mindful of the place the trees share in that story. We have never before carved something this size out of wood, much less worked on it together. Interesting . . .
Flow, the sculpture we propose, is a stylized water wheel over 8’ tall. It refers to one of the earliest sources of renewable energy and is a tribute to the hard work of early settlers who converted the force of water into energy and in a larger sense, helped drive future development. We create a maquette, to scale, as a visual aid for the selection committee. The committee likes our proposal and the adventure begins.
The trees are felled, sawed into 20’ sections and transported to a portable sawmill where they are roughed out into segments we can handle in our studio. We cut the wood into 400 lb. chunks and cure it for over half a year in preparation for carving. Having a 5 ton bridge crane in the studio allows us to handle pieces of this size. Over the next months, we chisel, gouge, chainsaw and wire brush each piece, before bolting it all together using historic timber frame methods, into the final design.
In the fall of 2014, Flow is installed along the Trolley Trail, very close to where the original trees stood. Flow is home.
The Trolley Trail is now open for bike and pedestrian traffic. The light rail is scheduled to open some time in the fall of 2015.
We are still talking and continue to look for our next project . . .